7mm On Heather's Workbench - a baby Small Prairie

Discussion in 'WR Action' started by Heather Kay, 2 August 2017.

  1. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    what size are the holes in the frames for the brakes? I'll put a pin on the hanger casting so that it goes in the correct place.
  2. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    They’re currently 1mm, but I’m wondering if it might be prudent to open them up to closer to 1.5 for strength. That would be easier for the print, too, wouldn’t it?
  3. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    The larger, the better!
    Heather Kay likes this.
  4. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Let’s do that, then. 1.5mm peg it is. The frames are a gnat's over a millimetre, so if the peg can be at least 1.5 long that gives somewhere for the glue to do its work. :thumbs:

    (I had worked previously on the assumption I would drill the brake parts to insert a peg anyway, but a moulded one would be much better and easier.)
  5. SimonT

    SimonT Western Thunderer

    Your wish is my command!
  6. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

  7. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    Right, what’s occurring? Well, aside from Muttley arriving - I think it’s the rain that invited him in - I’ve been working my way through the various fixtures and fittings that need to be attached. While brake gear is still pending, I’m working on cab fittings, and that includes the glazing.

    The early Churchward cabs had these funny little portholes above the firebox. They needed polished brass frames, and sweet Serendipity smiled on me, for in my brass tube stocks was something that fitted the etched hole like it was made for the job. A swift bit of piercing saw action and two brass rings appeared. It seems so long ago that I made the cab glazing. So long.

    Anyway, while Muttley is parked firmly in my head, I find it best to pick away at the small jobs. Eventually they all get done. One job I will get to is modifying the cab roof. The client called this morning and asked if it might be possible to adjust things to better match the wood and canvas of the real thing. The roof I made up has lips front and rear, much more akin to the steel roofs fitted later on. Now, the roof has been painted, but as it’s plain black I reckon I’m quite capable of repainting my corrections. More on that later. Another builder flaw highlighted by painting was a blob of solder on the smokebox door hinges. Another little job to deal with.

    The snagging list isn’t very long, but some of it fiddly.
  8. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Windows and toolboxes in.



    Pleased with that. As I begin to detail the rest of the cab, a question arises.

    The bunker front: black or green? I’m going green with the coal hole door in black.

    Equally, the reverser quadrant and sanding box filler lids and associated plate work: black?
    BrushType4, Pencarrow, AJC and 14 others like this.
  9. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    I went with black in the end, but the bunker front is still green.

    I thought I had crew in stock, but they’ve either been seconded to another company or I forgot to recruit them.

    Still picking away at little jobs. A little job here, another job there, and eventually it all gets done.
    BrushType4, Pencarrow, AJC and 15 others like this.
  10. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer


    I tackled the roof. I think that looks much more like the photos now. It needs matting down a bit, for which I’ll wait while the paint dries.
  11. jonte

    jonte Western Thunderer

    Lovely job, Heather, as usual :)

    May I ask is that masking tape you’ve used to create the crackly effect on the roof?

    Very effective.

  12. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Indeed it is. :thumbs:
    jonte likes this.
  13. Lyndhurstman

    Lyndhurstman Western Thunderer

    Very nice, Heather.
    Here's hoping the hound won't stick around. All positive waves from Cornwall.
    I presume the portholes - awfully Edwardian, in my view - were so the crew could see the safety valve(s). I can't see any other reason. And the driver could see something else to nag the fireman about...

    I like the roof, too.


    jonte likes this.
  14. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    Boom! And we're back in the room!

    Extended radio silence was due to Muttley, and ever such slow work reassembling this loco. For the oddest reasons, I find that I dread reassembly more than making it in the first place. A little bit of my brain cell is certain something will go spoggly, and things won’t go back as well as they came apart, and all kinds of brown smelly stuff will hit air circulating devices.

    As ever, once I’ve given that little bit of my brain cell a stern talking-to, things actually work out okay. We shall skip lightly over the things that didn’t - at first.

    Right, we had a hold-up for brake shoes.


    Then, one day, these arrived. They are nice. I owe someone money, but no-one has owned up yet. I’ll find them eventually.


    Something really quite obvious that I had failed to clock during all the gazing at drawings and photos of small prairies is there were two brake pull rods. They ran down between the wheels and the springs. Ah, yes, springs. I’ll come to that in a while. Anyway, two pull rods were on the fret, so I checked to see if they fitted.

    Well, obviously, they didn’t. If you recall, and have followed this protracted build from early on, we are using the smallest diameter wheels and have decided to shuffle the brake gear about to suit. The brake weighshaft has been shifted forwards to better suit its proper location On The Real Thing. The pull rods were therefore too long. Also, the weighshaft casting has the lever arms cast for inside the springs, not outside. Oh.


    There ensued some faffing about in order to make representative levers at the ends of the weighshaft. Useful etches from the Bits Box came into play, and the adjustment plates - I want to call them slack adjusters, so I will - meant to be at the end of the pull rods were fixed to them. For the sake of sanity, and to avoid destroying anything further, I elected to pretend the inner levers as cast were meant to be there. They should be lost in the gloom when the loco is sat on trackwork.

    About this point it made sense to install the suspension springs. It turned out, thanks to tiny diameter wheels, the loco ended up sitting so low the cast springs were in imminent danger of ripping out check rails! Some careful work with a whizzy disc removed something like 1.5mm from the bottom of each spring casting, and by sheer luck it proved sufficient to clear the permanent way. Sigh of relief.


    Here’s one of the new slack adjusters.


    Here’s the other. The mess around the sanding pipe bracket was because my shoddy soldering had allowed it to come adrift while it was off being painted. By this time I had resigned myself to brush-painted top coat to the underframe anyway. In for a penny, as they say.


    Carefully drilled through to accept the cross rods, the brake hangers and shoes were glued in, aided by the wheels for spacing.


    From below, you can see the damage wrought to the cast springs.


    Anyway, to cut a long story short, this is where I am now. The cylinders and motion have been reinstalled, and the brake rigging is in place, pending some drops of glue to hold it all. So far, it all still rolls adequately, so I’m going to take that as a positive.

    More, perhaps, later.
    Last edited: 23 September 2019
    BrushType4, 3 LINK, Pencarrow and 6 others like this.
  15. lankytank

    lankytank Western Thunderer

    Welcome back Heather, thought it had gone a bit quiet, assumed you'd gone on holiday (incorrectly). Nice to see you back in the room..... :thumbs:
  16. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    GW is not my thing, but as far as brakes go they can be a central pull from the brake cross shaft followed by a yoke to pull rods down either side. LSWR used it on some of their locos.

    Looking good, I also dislike reassembly, nothing seems to fit or work as well as it did before the paint was applied.
  17. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    I think later builds may have done that. I have a drawing for this batch, and the brakes are operated by the weighshaft pulling the outside rods.
  18. Pencarrow

    Pencarrow Western Thunderer

    I've concluded after much deliberation and evidence that GWR loco kits hate being built.
  19. Heather Kay

    Heather Kay Western Thunderer

    To be fair, if I had built the kit as Mr Mitchell had intended (i.e. in mid-1930s condition with the larger main production run wheels) it would have gone together fairly well. All the faffing about has been to replicate a version of the loco the kit doesn’t quite allow.
    Malcolm Trevena and GrahameH like this.
  20. Peter Cross

    Peter Cross Western Thunderer

    Bu@@er, I've just started one with 3 more in the wings.